European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday urged eurozone countries to honour their promises to provide debt relief to Greece, whose economy is still struggling. "We should now focus on the problem of reducing (Greece's) debt. I want all member states to honour (their) pledges," Juncker said during a visit to Athens. Bailout loans provided by the eurozone states and IMF prevented Greece from crashing out of the single currency. However they resulted in the country's debt remaining at an unsustainable 180 percent of its annual economic output. As Greece approaches the end of its final bailout programme in August, markets will need to be convinced that it can handle its debt load. If investors refuse to lend to the country at affordable rates it will be forced to seek help once again. German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that Berlin wants to set strict conditions for any further debt relief, even though Athens has repeatedly exceeded budget goals set by its … [Read more...] about Juncker urges eurozone to honour Greek debt relief pledge
By April 23, 2018, 8:20 AM EDT The European Commission confirmed on Monday that Greece beat its bailout targets again last year, strengthening the government’s case against demands to bring forward additional tax measures originally scheduled to kick in starting 2020.Europe’s most indebted state achieved a budget surplus before interest and other one-time payments equal to 4.2 percent of its gross domestic product in 2017, more than twice the target set by its bailout auditors for a 1.75 percent of GDP surplus, the European Union’s executive arm said. Greece achieved a general government budget surplus for the second year in a row, according to the bloc’s statistical service Eurostat.“This good news is a welcome shot in the arm for Greece ahead of the crucial Eurogroup discussions that must prepare a positive conclusion to the program this summer,” European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici said in a statement, referring to … [Read more...] about Greece Beats Bailout Targets Again as Debt-Relief Talks Loom
Greece’s creditors are getting closer on a deal to ease the country’s debt burden, according to Eurogroup President Mario Centeno.Greece’s 86-billion euro ($106-billion) bailout program is set to run out in August, and creditors are working on finding a compromise on debt repayments that would help to manage the country’s financing needs after it stops receiving international aid. A debt deal would also allow the International Monetary Fund to participate in the current bailout.“The positions today are much closer than they used to be before,” Centeno, who is Portugal’s finance minister and chairs the meetings of his euro-area counterparts, said in an interview in Washington. “We still have a final mile to go but there is a positive sentiment around the table so I think that reflects a true willingness to be part of the program.”Further easing Greek debt is a key precondition for the Washington-based IMF before it can participate in … [Read more...] about Centeno Says Sides Closer as Greece’s Creditors Mull Debt Relief
Greece is hoping for a change of tune by Germany on debt relief when their finance ministers hold Friday their first meeting since a new government took office in Berlin. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos travels to Berlin where he will meet his new German counterpart Olaf Scholz, a meeting that could give clues on just how much debt relief Berlin is ready to accord Greece as Athens makes preparations to exit its bailout programme in August. Scholz's predecessor Wolfgang Schaeuble was the main proponent of requiring Greece to pursue painful austerity policies in order to win bailout loans, and strenuously resisted any talk of debt relief. While staving off Greece from crashing out of the eurozone, the bailout loans have resulted in the country's debt remaining at an unsustainable 180 percent of its annual economic output. But as Greece approaches the end of its bailout programme, markets will need to be convinced that it can handle its debt load or it may find itself seeking … [Read more...] about Greece hoping for Germany to change tune on debt relief
IMF dubious Germany's new finance minister, Olaf Scholz, is more likely to join a European effort to reduce Greece's debt, but political dangers abound. Published on April 3, 2018 8:45 pm France and the European Union are pressing ahead with plans to implement debt relief for Greece now that Germany’s former Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who preached austerity instead of bailouts, is no longer holding the purse strings in the coalition government. European finance ministers are scheduled to meet at an informal meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria at the end of the month, and there is growing hope that Germany’s new finance chief, Olaf Scholz, will be more flexible than Mr. Schäuble was in agreeing to debt relief. Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio has risen from 160 percent at the end of 2012 to almost 180 percent this year and is becoming more untenable than ever. Mr. Scholz, a former mayor of Hamburg and a Social Democrat, is believed to be more liberal on … [Read more...] about With Mr. Austerity gone, will Germany approve debt relief for Greece?